May Spotlight

Alabama Living Magazine

Cogongrass campaign addresses threat to Alabama

Cogongrass – a federally regulated noxious weed – has infested more than 75 percent of Alabama’s counties, according to the state Department of Agriculture and Industries (ADAI) and poses a real danger to agriculture and natural ecosystems.

 Cogongrass chokes out forests and hunting lands, threatening habitats. It inhibits the growth of other plants and ruins pasturelands, as livestock have trouble eating or digesting it. The weed is also highly flammable and increases the risk of wildfires.

 The cost to eradicate it is high, exceeding $300 per acre, or $60 million in taxpayer dollars. It’s difficult to control due to the ease with which it spreads along rights-of-way.

 The ADAI has launched a social media campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of cogongrass, and landowners are encouraged to recognize this threat. Because cogongrass contaminates machinery, clothing, soil and vehicles that come in contact with it, no attempt should be made to remove it. Rather, it should be reported immediately to 334-240-7225. Learn more at

AREA honors Speaker of the House

The Alabama Rural Electric Association presented Speaker of the  Alabama House of Representatives Mac McCutcheon with its Bill Nichols Award for his contributions to the rural electrification program in Alabama. AREA Vice President for Public Affairs Sean Strickler, right, was on hand to help present the award to McCutcheon at AREA’s 75th Annual Meeting in Montgomery in April. The award, named for former Congressman Bill Nichols, is presented to an individual who “has demonstrated a substantial willingness to go beyond the routine call of duty in furthering the principles and progress of rural electrification.” McCutcheon, who represents portions of north Alabama not served by cooperatives, was nevertheless a champion of all cooperatives statewide and was instrumental in passage of legislation critical to the industry.

Former Alabama WWII POW camp comes to life May 13-15

Camp Aliceville in Pickens County was one of the largest prisoner-of-war camps in America from 1943-1945, housing more than 6,000 mostly Afrika Korps prisoners. To help tell the story of this little-known piece of war history, the town of Aliceville will put on a period accurate re-enactment of the WWII prison camp May 13-15.
Re-enactors are welcomed to portray German Gen. Erwin Rommel’s Afrika Korps (an expeditionary combat force of the German army) and Luftwaffe POWs as well as American military police and Alabama State Troopers. Several children and grandchildren of former POWs are planning to attend.
When the first German prisoners arrived on June 2, 1943, the people of Aliceville turned out to watch. For this re-enactment, townspeople will dress in 1940s styles and line the route of the march as POW re-enactors are brought in by truck.
For more on this event, visit

Whereville, Alabama

Identify and place this Alabama landmark and you could win $25! Winner is chosen at random from all correct entries. Multiple entries from the same person will be disqualified. Send your answer with your name, address and the name of your rural electric cooperative, if applicable. The winner and answer will be announced in the June issue.

Submit by email:, or by mail: Whereville, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124.

Do you like finding interesting or unusual landmarks? Contribute a photo you’ve taken! Readers whose photos are chosen also win $25.

April’s answer: This metal bull, located in front of the Pike County Cattlemen’s Association building on U.S. Highway 231, was created by Larry Godwin, an artist/metal sculptor who had a small studio south of Brundidge. Godwin created the bull as a marketing tool for Bob’s Feeds, a store owned by his father, Bob Godwin. (There were two stores – one in Brundidge and one in Dothan.) After the Brundidge store closed, the bull was parked at Larry Godwin’s studio. 

Betty Hixon, longtime president of the Pike County Cattlewomen and one-time president of the state cattlewomen’s association, had an idea that the bull would be good to use in parades and other events as a promotion for the cattle industry. She and her husband Bill Hixon (a former trustee of the South Alabama Electric Cooperative) convinced Larry Godwin to allow the association to use the bull. 

The bull was “retired” around the year 2000 and has been at home in Cattlemen Park ever since. “That is probably one of the most photographed things in Pike County,” says Don Renfroe of the Pike County Cattlemen’s Association. Check out the state and Pike County groups’ Facebook pages to learn more. (Photo by Mark Stephenson of Alabama Living) The randomly drawn correct guess winner is Connie Robertson of Baldwin EMC.

Alabama’s primary election coming up

The 2022 general election is in November, but the important primary election is May 24. The Alabama Rural Electric Association, which publishes Alabama Living, encourages our rural and suburban consumer members to take an active role in the political conversation this year, and to make their voices heard. 

There is much at stake this year. The offices on the ballot include federal (a U.S. Senate seat and all seven U.S. House seats); state (governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, auditor, secretary of state, treasurer, various circuit and district court seats and others); and several county-level offices.

The voter registration deadline for the primary is May 9; the last day to apply for an absentee ballot by mail is May 17. The primary runoff election, if necessary, will be June 21. The general election is Nov. 8.

For more information, see the secretary of state’s website at and


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